February 17-23, 2012

By Dr Robert Goldman

Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), a non-profit medical society composed of 24,000 physician and scientist members from 110 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimise the human aging process. Dr Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.

Beware the Office Air
Polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are chemicals that are used in water-repellent coatings on carpet and furniture. Potential sources of exposure include food, water, indoor air, indoor dust and direct contact with PFC-containing objects, and now a study by Boston University (Massachusetts, USA) researchers uncovers a link between levels in indoor office air and blood levels of PFCs. Studying 31 office workers in Boston, Michael D. McClean and colleagues found concentrations of a PFC called fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) in office air that were 3-5 times higher than those reported in previous studies of household air, “suggesting that offices may represent a unique and important exposure environment.” In addition, the study found a strong link between concentrations of FTOH in office air and perfluorooctanoic acid (a metabolite of FTOH) in the blood of office workers. The results also suggested that workers in newly renovated office buildings may receive considerably higher doses of PFCs than workers in older buildings. Observing that the highest levels [of FTOH were] observed in a newly constructed building,” the study authors warn that: “Variation in PFC air concentrations by building is likely due to differences in the number, type, and age of potential sources such as carpeting, furniture, and/or paint.”

Dr Klatz observes: In a first-of-its-kind study, we learn that indoor air in offices is an important source of worker exposure to potentially toxic substances. Open windows, add phytoremediative plants such as the purple waffle plant (Hemigraphis alternata), English ivy (Hedera Helix), variegated wax plant (Hoya cornosa), Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus) and the Purple heart plant (Tradescantia pallida) around the office, and take breaks outdoors.

Knock Out Anxiety
Affecting about 3 percent of Americans, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry that reduces health and quality of life. Matthew P. Herring, from the University of Georgia, and colleagues enrolled 30 sedentary women, ages 18-37 years, all of whom were diagnosed with GAD, in an intervention study. Each subject was assigned to either a six week-long program of strength or aerobic exercise training, or control group. Women in the exercise conditions completed two weekly sessions of either weight lifting or leg cycling exercise. The team observed that the women who exercised – and particularly those who performed weight lifting, were more likely to have their GAD enter remission (as determined by psychologists). As well, worry symptoms, the primary problem among individuals with GAD, were significantly reduced among the exercisers, and moderate-to-large improvements in other symptoms, such as irritability, feelings of tension, low energy and pain, were found. Writing that: “Exercise training, including [resistance exercise], is a feasible, low-risk treatment that can potentially reduce worry symptoms among [Generalized Anxiety Disorder] patients,” the study authors submit this intervention as “an effective adjuvant, short-term treatment or augmentation for [Generalised Anxiety Disorder].”

Remarks Dr Goldman: Finding that women with Generalised Anxiety Disorder respond positively to regular physical activity, this team uncovers an accessible and effective approach to combat anxiety, irritability,feelings of tension, low energy and pain.

Grapes May Help Prevent Blindness
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness for people age 55-plus in the Western world. Ageing of the retina is associated with increased levels of oxidative damage, and oxidative stress is thought to play a pivotal role in the development of AMD. Silvia Finnemann, from Fordham University (New York), and colleagues investigated the impact of an antioxidant-rich diet on vision using mice prone to developing retinal damage in old age in much the same way as humans do. Mice either received a grape-enriched diet, a diet with added lutein, or a normal diet. The team found that the grape-enriched diet protected against oxidative damage of the retina and prevented blindness in those mice consuming grapes. While lutein was also effective, grapes were found to offer significantly more protection. The study authors conclude that: “These findings identify [that] oxidative burden of [retinal] cells in vivo … is associated with age-related blindness and … can be prevented by consuming an antioxidant-rich diet.”

Comments Dr Klatz: This study suggests that antioxidant-rich grapes may offer potent protection for eyes, and may open new avenues for innovative therapies to slow or help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.

Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on solid scientific principles of responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at www.worldhealth.net, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavours and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.

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